Carrick: We’re over final pain

The Red Devils begin another quest to conquer club football’s

number one competition on Tuesday when they tackle legendary

Portuguese outfit Benfica at the Stadium of Light. Their aim is

clear: finding a way to match the Catalans, who completely

outclassed United as they romped to victory at Wembley. It is a

subject that has vexed many United fans throughout the summer. But

Carrick is not sure such introspection is of any great value. “The

Champions League final doesn’t still hurt,” said the 30-year-old.

“It was disappointing because we lost the final but it wasn’t a

massive failure. “I haven’t watched it again. I went on my holidays

and focused on this season. “You have to accept they were good. It

is up to us to be better.” The quest looks a lot more positive than

it did at the start of summer thanks to the infusion of so many

electrifying young talents into Sir Alex Ferguson’s team. It has

helped contribute to Carrick, amongst others, being reduced to a

peripheral role during United’s rocket-propelled start to the

campaign. The most notable team-mate of Carrick’s who has yet to

have any significant involvement is last season’s Golden Boot

winner, Dimitar Berbatov. However, Park Ji-sung, Ryan Giggs, Darren

Fletcher and Antonio Valencia have also been rarely seen, the

latter duo not even getting a place on the bench so far. That is

all likely to change on Tuesday, with Ferguson vowing to give his

more experienced campaigners a run out. Carrick understands why he

has had to be so patient. It is not just Ferguson who has been

enthused by the contribution of the younger players. He has felt

the same emotions. And though Tom Cleverley’s four-week absence

with damaged ligaments has offered a route back to the first team,

the Geordie is disappointed at his team-mate’s extended absence.

“The young lads have come out flying,” said Carrick. “It is great

to see them bursting through. The buzz around the squad is

fantastic. “There is enthusiasm and energy and the whole thing has

gone up a notch. That has shown on the pitch, so Tom’s injury is a

bitter blow.”